|Birth: ||Feb. 4, 1932|
|Death: ||May 26, 2009|
Mass of Christian Burial: Friday May 29, 2009 at 11:00a.m. in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Forsyth, Montana
Rite of Committal will full Military honors: Will follow in the Forsyth Cemetery following.
Bruce L. Blakesley, of Forsyth, died Tuesday, May 26 at St. Vincent's Healthcare in Billings after a courageous battle with pneumonia and related illnesses. He was 77.
Bruce was born on February 4, 1932, to Glen and Dorothy (Larson) Blakesley in Forsyth. He attended Forsyth schools, graduating from Forsyth High School in 1950. He also attended the University of Montana at Missoula, where he studied journalism. He entered the United States Army in 1952 and served in the Korean conflict, and was awarded the Purple Heart – an honor that he didn't officially receive until recently, due to lost paperwork.
In October of 1954, Bruce married Sheila McKeever at Immaculate Conception Church. They were high school sweethearts and had known each other since childhood. They remained in Forsyth, where they raised five children.
Bruce worked for several years as a teller for Forsyth State Bank. In the early 1960s he worked for Forsyth Lumber Company, and was also a partner in Forsyth Ready Mix. An unofficial monument to his years with the Ready Mix was created alongside Highway 10 five miles east of Forsyth when the cement truck he was driving caught fire. The truck's drum, full of concrete, was too heavy for the wreckers to move. It remains there today.
In 1967, Bruce and his cousin-in-law, Harry Borer, purchased Valley Auto Supply in Forsyth. Bruce and Sheila later became owners of the store, where he worked six days a week, up to ten hours a day, until two weeks before his death. He was honored by the Forsyth Chamber of Commerce as Businessperson of the Year in 1994.
Bruce was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Forsyth. In earlier years he served on the Forsyth Hospital Board and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Bruce was an avid boater and water-skier for many years. One of his earliest accomplishments was building a 14-foot outboard motorboat from a kit. He was a founding member of the Forsyth Boat Club and served as its secretary. He wrote a column of boating news for the Forsyth Independent under the pen name "R. R. B.," which was later revealed to stand for "River Rat Blakesley." He took great pleasure in teaching his kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews to ski – not to mention many of their friends.
Bruce's proudest accomplishment, outside of his large family, was probably the family cabin on Tongue River Reservoir. He started construction on the cabin in the late 1960s with help from various family members and friends using reclaimed lumber. Many summers of adventures (and misadventures) followed while the cabin took shape. Due to health reasons, Bruce was unable to enjoy the cabin for the last few years of his life, but he was always eager to hear reports on "how high the water is" and other news from the lake. The cabin continues to provide good times and great memories for family and friends.
Bruce is survived by Sheila, his loving wife of 54 years; two sons, Mike (Lynn) of Forsyth, and Scott (Heather) of Sidney; three daughters: Diane (Todd) Friez of Rosebud; Brenda (Tom) Clifford of Forsyth; and Sandra Mohr of Park City; twelve grandchildren: Talia (Stephen) Crenshaw of Amarillo, Tex.; Tucker Friez and Tyler Friez, of Rosebud; Gina Johnson, Shanna (Matt) Tourtlotte, and Julie Clifford, all of Billings; Nicholas Blakesley, Sydney Mohr and Blake Mohr, all of Park City; Jerrick Sanders, Hadley Blakesley and Solai Blakesley, all of Sidney; and three great-grandchildren: Olivia and Drake Tourtlotte, and Eli Johnson, all of Billings. He is also survived by his brother Noel (Judy) Blakesley, of Forsyth, sisters-in-law Mary Ellen (Jerry) Whittle and Connie Rasky, of Billings, Joan Zormeir of Lewistown, and many nieces and nephews. Vigil Service will be at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Forsyth Thursday May 28, 2009 at 7:30p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday May 29, 2009 at 11:00a.m. in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Forsyth, Montana with burial and Military honors in the Forsyth Cemetery following. Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home of Forsyth have been entrusted with these arrangements.
Created by: Catherine Byron
Record added: May 28, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37611707